Letters to the Editor
LIFE AFTER SHIPYARD COULD BE GOOD THING
LIFE AFTER SHIPYARD COULD BE GOOD THING
Stunned was I when I read on July 2 that Pearl Harbor Shipyard was on the government's list for closing.
But, as in life, an end can be a beginning, and I tried to visualize life "after Pearl" and what I saw was private business and state government taking over various areas for expansion to accommodate the needs of our island for harbor space. Maybe this is a blessing.
Don't get me wrong, the 4,200 people who might be out on the streets are of great concern, but the reality is that if we, Hawai'i, begin to think and act like the entrepreneurs we are, we will see the opportunities that can be ours. Private industry would scarf up those let go due to the Pearl closing.
For once, let's try to look at the future rather than living in the past.
Kathy Howe | Honolulu
REVENUE TO BE MADE FROM HOV OFFENDERS
To those drivers commuting from Mililani into town every morning in the left-most lane, do you know what that white diamond painted on the road stands for? Granted, most of the diamonds are faded and need to be repainted, but the diamond symbolizes the requirement for two or more passengers in the lane. I'm not talking about the zipper lane, which is duly separated in its own manner.
To the DOT and HPD, do you realize how much revenue you could be making by ticketing single drivers in the "Diamond Lane"? Focus your enforcement efforts on the non-zipper, carpool lane in regular morning town-bound traffic and I'll bet that you'll easily catch at least 10 single drivers every day. Multiply by $200 per driver and you've just made $2,000 for the day. Park a police officer at the bottom of the H-1/H-2 merge, right after the zipper lane split, and you'll have a field day flagging down offenders. Park another officer down by the Red Hill split, and you'll catch more.
Regardless of enforcement, there will always be people who take the chance driving in the lane. For what cost? Perhaps the re-birth of a camera system to eliminate the need for an officer on the scene?
It gets frustrating making the effort to carpool but still running into traffic in the carpool lane caused by single drivers breaking the rules.
Randy Lau | Mililani Mauka
STATE SHOULD COLLECT GET FOR THE COUNTIES
The governor has stated that she supports the "home rule" right of the counties to raise their own taxes to pay for a locally preferred transit option, but she objects to the state having any involvement in the collection of the tax.
In Hawai'i, the state collects all the gas taxes but a portion of that tax is remitted to each county based on the county-established gas tax rate. The same is true with the hotel room tax. Likewise, the counties collect all the vehicle weight taxes but remit the state weight tax to the state based on the state rate. We should do the same with the general excise tax.
A majority of other states have local-option sales taxes to support transportation. In almost all cases, the state collects the tax. Sometimes, the legislation provides that the state must be reimbursed for the added administrative cost incurred collecting the tax. For example, in both Washington and Oregon, this amount is determined by the director of taxation.
Requiring each county to develop a general excise tax system would create additional expense and more government bureaucracies. It would also needlessly increase business costs since all O'ahu businesses would need to complete two or more GET returns.
Let's do the sensible thing. The state should collect the GET tax for all counties and be reimbursed for the actual added collection cost as determined by the director of taxation.
Roger Morton | Committee for Balanced Transportation
RACE HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH RECOGNITION
I was saddened by reading Mr. Bill Jardine's June 28 letter, which claims that although Mainland American Indian tribes "have been recognized as continuing government entities due to their historical relationship with the United States," similar recognition for Native Hawaiians would be based solely on race.
I doubt that Mr. Jardine has forgotten that the governments of Mainland tribes have been reorganized in modern times and are not exactly of uninterrupted lineage. I also doubt that he has forgotten about the overthrown kingdom of Hawai'i and its historical relationship with the United States. So I can only wonder from where his claim might come.
In denying various Mainland tribes' requests for increased independence, the federal government has repeatedly used the informal nature and historical impermanence of those tribal "governments" against them. Native Hawaiians had the most well-established and formally articulated government of any of America's indigenous peoples prior to U.S. colonization. It is not unreasonable to suggest that it is precisely because of this fact that they have received less recognition from the U.S. than groups whose claims to independence are substantially weaker.
Lance Uyeda | 'Aiea
CLICK IT OR TICKET IS A NATIONWIDE PROGRAM
In response to the Click It or Ticket letter on June 26: How does the Click It or Ticket program compromise the motto of respect, integrity and fairness? Click It or Ticket is a nationwide program subsidized by the federal government. Many of our other police and government operations are federally subsidized as well. This program is staffed by many officers of varied experience, not just "rookies," and definitely not recruits.
Checkpoints are also strategically placed to hit major traffic areas usually near a high-traffic route to a freeway on-ramp. The speed limits near checkpoints are irrelevant. Seat belts not only prevent death, but also serious injury during low-speed collisions.
Just to kill another myth, neither the HPD nor the city gets any revenue from citation fines. It all goes to the state coffers.
Ron Taira | Kapahulu
'THE WORST-LAID PLANS' ARE FAR MORE THAN LISTED
I am somewhat surprised that you only picked nine "mistakes" ("The worst-laid plans: Hawai'i seen as having lion's share of botched government projects," Advertiser, June 26).
I suppose column space was a limiting criteria. Or do you mean to make "mistakes" a continuing issue? If so, you can run it for a few years.
I'd sure like Russ Saito to have some space to fill us in on the "awards." However much space you give him, I can fill twice, thrice over. I can start with the photo program to control traffic, move on to the wonderful book-buying program for the library, the closing of the city's incinerator so the landfill would be over capacity decades before its time ...
A.E. Wickens | Kapolei
PROACTIVE CHURCHES SHOULD BE APPLAUDED
I enjoyed reading Mary Kaye Ritz's June 22 article "Faith vs. Weight." Our nation's scales are going up, up and it's clear we have an obesity health crisis on our hands.
The proactive churches and their leaders offering programs to attack obesity should be applauded. These churches understand they have a responsibility to provide relevant programs that positively impact the lives of their memberships. Plus, weight control/exercise programs provide these churches an opportunity to reach out into their community and introduce God into the lives of those who currently do not attend church. These churches are most likely growing both spiritually and numerically.
I only wish more churches would be as proactive.
Instead, most churches in the United States are dying on the vine both spiritually and numerically. They fail to offer relevant programs and services to their memberships and their communities. Their clergy and lay leaders could learn a lot from these proactive churches.
Unfortunately, I'm afraid they have become "pulpit and pew" potatoes, and would rather just sit around and pray about their churches dying on the vine.
Russell J. Flemming | Waialua
HMSA PREMIUM CUTS ARE WELCOME RELIEF
Regarding the June 24 article "HMSA cuts premium for state, city workers": Congratulations to the Hawai'i Employer-Union Health Benefits Trust for getting HMSA to substantially reduce its premium rates for state and county government employees. Glad to see the government being proactive in reducing costs and giving notice that it will continue to shop competitively for goods and services.
Plus, this shows that HMSA apparently did not need to be charging the premiums it did. This should benefit non-government employees as well since undoubtedly private-sector employers will shop for the best rates for comparable coverage for their employees.
Maybe reduced rates by Kaiser and Hawai'i Dental will follow.
Anne Sabalaske | Honolulu
NATIONAL UNITY MUST BE MAINTAINED IN WAR
Sen. Dan Inouye's statements questioning Karl Rove's disparaging remarks about the commitment of the Democratic Party in the war against terrorism missed the point. It's not the patriotism of Democrats that is in question as much as it is their desire to maintain national unity during a time of ongoing warfare.
Though Americans may grow weary of the war, that emotion is meaningless to national and transnational terrorist groups. One cannot underestimate the potential threat and desire of terrorists and their supporters to cripple or destroy the United States.
Being that there are a number of potential avenues that both of these scenarios could be accomplished, continued aggressive vigilance is imperative.
It is understandable that Democrats would perhaps look more favorably on a war waged by a member of their own party. Mr. Bush is the president, and with troops deployed and our enemies looking for signs of weakness, the maintenance of national unity is of strategic importance.
Paul Mossman | Kailua
RELAX AND BE THANKFUL FOR SUCH A BEAUTIFUL BEACHIn the interest of "'ohana" and "aloha," I am rephrasing my response and writing slowly. I have only lived here on O'ahu for three years, but am a regular visitor to Hanauma Bay, and as I did wherever I lived, I quickly found out the peak hours and avoided them, unless a friend was visiting and was under a time constraint. Even then, the wait made the experience all the better when we did finally hit the water.
As a former "non-terrorist-seeking" security guard at the bay for almost one year, my job was to assist the much under-appreciated park attendants, mostly with parking and video issues. Ten minutes that might save your life and definitely enhance your visit was generally too bothersome for most "kama'aina," who all were experienced watermen, and tourists who flew here all the way from "America."
Much like avoiding downtown during rush hour and the mall during Christmas season, I made use of the various Web sites, guide books and, particularly, the park staff to enhance my visits and knowledge.
While some people would never dream of subjecting themselves to a 30-to-60-minute wait for one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, they will wait for hours at other tourist attractions and restaurants without question.
Sure there are lines and days of poor visibility, but the purpose is to enjoy the beautiful nature preserve and what it holds. If you do not have the time to wait, maybe you do not have the time to enjoy what it holds.
Without fail, after coming back onshore, generally with some debris I found floating along, I also bring my experiences, which are always slightly different and exciting. My friend makes fun of the names I cannot pronounce, the fishes, turtles, rays, etc., but wishes he had the time to join me. I am invariably asked, "How was it?" Rain or shine, high tide or low, it's always fantastic.
Perhaps a little more consideration to Hanauma Bay itself, its staff and volunteers would help with the lines and come up with some solutions instead of the regular op-eds all complaining. How about being thankful for something so wonderful?
Michael Lyons | Honolulu
NOW IT'S THE STATE'S TURN TO FIX OUR CRUMBLING ROADWAYSWow, what a surprise! A recent audit just blasted the Harris administration for the deplorable condition of our roads. Even my car could have told me that. Why wasn't the audit done when Mayor Harris was in office? Maybe then he might have come out of hiding to explain how he was going to fix our roads.
Now, thanks to Mayor Hannemann's administration, many repairs are being made to our roads in such a short time. It's the kind of "no frills" government we need after years and years of incompetence.
If Mayor Hannemann's administration can make such an immediate improvement, then what's the problem with the state's Department of Transportation?
Kam Highway in Pearl City resembles the road around Ka'ena Point; the H-1 Freeway in both directions in Pearl City reminds me of a minefield in a war zone; the asphalt sections of that same area have been neglected for almost 20 years and feel like hitting several speed bumps at freeway speeds; and finally, the dip in the freeway at the westbound Pearl City off-ramp makes me hit my head on the ceiling of my truck every time.
Linda and Rod, what's the hang-up? Do people have to die on our roads before you guys do anything? Remember the time that poor lady hit that pothole going town-bound on the H-1 in 'Aiea, caught on fire and almost died? It took you guys only a few days to fix that pothole.
How difficult is it to give the asphalt areas on the freeway a good once-over with a steamroller rather than a shovel? How difficult is it to put reflector lane markings down so we can at least see where our lane is at night? You can spend millions of dollars on a project in Pearl City to add a one-mile lane, yet neglect small but dangerous road conditions in the same area. Where are your priorities?
Maybe we need to audit the DOT now to see how we can avoid another Harris fiasco because this scenario seems to be all too familiar. Legislators, are you reading this?
Brian T. Yamane | Moanalua